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Evan Wolfson on marriage equality

CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today's civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.

Evan Wolfson, lawyer, gay rights advocate; founder, Freedom to Marry

What needs to happen in the next 50 years for equality to be fully realized in the U.S.?

Evan Wolfson Freedom to Marry

There are major legal and political changes in the law needed to remove barriers and provide full liberty, equality, and justice for all. The work of securing those legal and political changes is pressing and paramount.

However, it's not just the law, but the lived experience that counts. Even once we've won the freedom to marry, even once we're provided protection against discrimination in employment and housing and public accommodations, even if we've torn down every remaining barrier that gay people -- and all people -- face, there is still urgent work to make sure it's real in people's lives.

Part of the reason why I've devoted my life to winning the freedom to marry for gay people has always been that marriage matters in and of itself -- to be denied marriage is to be denied something very important in terms of personal aspirations to love and commitment, as well as in legal and economic protections and security. But I also focused on winning the freedom to marry because it would lead to a broader transformation in people's real lives.

I saw engaging around marriage as an engine of changing how people see and treat gay people. That same attention to the whole is the work we need to bring to every civil rights frontier.

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